Romo’s Putback Pushes Dallas Into Title Game

Wheelchair Mavericks Knock Off Defending Adult D1 Champs

Wheelchair Mavericks Knock Off Defending Adult D1 Champs

 Once Fabian Romo saw that he and teammate Aaron Gouge had a cross pick going, he knew they had the potential game-winning shot set up.

Luckily, Romo was in the right spot, and the ball — which Gouge contends was a pass and not a shot — landed on his good side.

Fabian Romo competes in semifinal games at the 2024 NWBA Adult Division Wheelchair Basketball Championships. (Photo by Christopher Di Virgilio).


Romo caught the rebound pass with one hand inside the left lane, put a one-handed shot up and scored with 9 seconds left to lift the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Adult Division 1 Tournament’s No. 1 seed to a 72-71 victory over the defending champ Golden State Road Warriors on Saturday afternoon at Henrico Sports & Events Center in Glen Allen, Va.

Dallas advances to play the No. 2 seed MedStar NRH Punishers in Sunday’s Adult Division 1 championship game.

A 27-year-old Arlington, Texas, resident, Romo was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, which is a complex birth defect where the upper part of the femur bone in the thigh his either malformed or is missing. Romo was born without a femur in his left leg.

A recent 2024 U.S. men’s Paralympic wheelchair basketball team selection, Romo says Gouge is right. Gouge is a 2024 U.S. men’s Paralympic wheelchair basketball alternate.

“I’ve seen Gouge do that little spin off the glass and then land it on the other side. I’m just glad it landed on my good side, so I just put it back up,” Romo says. “I was kind of scared ‘cause usually I don’t usually do one-handers like that. But that’s just part of the process, right? Trust your training, trust what you’ve been doing, living up to that moment.”

Golden State had a chance at the end but missed a long 3-pointer with 3 seconds left.

Dallas led by 11 points after the first quarter, but Golden State came back and took the lead with 6 minutes and 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Dallas answered back, but Chuck Gill put the Road Warriors ahead 71-67 with another basket with 1:10 remaining. Dallas responded again with a Romo basket with 55 seconds left and a Blake McMinn free throw with 17 seconds remaining.

Meanwhile, MedStar hung on to beat the No. 3 seed WASA Marquette Eagles, 76-73, in another thriller. MedStar led 68-63 near the 4-minute mark before WASA rallied behind Jake Williams, another recent 2024 U.S. men’s Paralympic wheelchair basketball team selection. He scored nine straight points, which included a 4-point play, to give them the lead lead, 72-71, with 2:39 remaining.

MedStar’s Kevin Atherley made a basket to put the Punishers ahead before Michael Looney gave the team the lead for good. After MedStar’s Harsh Thakkar stole the ball, the Punishers ran a set play — with Trevon Jenifer, a recent 2024 U.S. Paralympic men’s basketball team selection, passing the ball to Looney, who found an open area for midrange shot.

Michael Looney competes in semifinal games at the 2024 NWBA Adult Division Wheelchair Basketball Championships. (Photo by Christopher Di Virgilio).


“We we were working to try and get our big in, and if we got under 10 seconds [on the shot clock] then it was basically, ‘OK, now let’s get a 15-footer.’ So, it got swung to Tre, Tre swung it to me and it was a matter of just putting it in,” says Looney, a 45-year-old Severna Park, Md., resident who sustained a level T12 spinal-cord injury in February 2000 while rock climbing in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

WASA still had chances. But Williams missed back-to-back 3-pointers and had an opportunity for another, but he wheeled on the out-of-bounds line. After Atherley hit 1-of-2 free throws to push the lead to 76-72 with 16 seconds remaining, WASA’’s Jeromie Meyer was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 9 seconds left. He made 1-of-3 free throws to cut the deficit to three. MedStar missed two free throws inside the final 7 seconds, and the Eagles missed another 3-pointer with 2 seconds left.


Division II — Top Two Seeds Make Final

It’ll be a top-two showdown in the Adult Division II championship game.

The top-seeded Los Angeles Clippers Chairmen and No. 2 seed San Antonio ParaSport Spurs will be colliding in Sunday’s final.

After leading by just two at halftime Saturday afternoon, the Chairmen started playing smarter, made it a faster-paced game and benefited from some cherry-picking for fast-break points in the second half. That led to a 76-53 win over the No. 4 seed LWSRA Hawks.

Leading 39-37 at halftime, Los Angeles limited LWSRA to eight points in the third quarter and pushed out to a 56-45 advantage after three quarters.

Chairmen player Gerald Burton, a 40-year-old Inglewood, Calif., resident, says they adjusted by playing smarter.

Gerald Burton, 23, competes in semifinal games at the 2024 NWBA Adult Division Wheelchair Basketball Championships. (Photo by Christopher Di Virgilio).

“They had speed, and we just kept jumping the shooters more aggressively, so it altered their shots. And after that, we were able to make a lot of quick, easy layups because we stopped the ball and we scored it. That really gave us that lead,” says Burton, who is a double amputee and was injured in 2003 while working in Long Beach, Calif., on the freeway for the California Department of Transportation.

San Antonio, meanwhile, held off Chicago, 61-53, in a more tightly contested battle. The Spurs led by one point at halftime (28-27) and again at the end of three quarters (38-37). Then, they pushed ahead midway through the fourth quarter.

Spurs player Ian Pierson thought they were too careless with the ball early on but fixed it and also got everybody involved to help earn the victory.

“We started out a little sluggish, turned the ball over, reckless with it. So, once we got that gone, we kind of found our rhythm. We should’ve started earlier but it was what it was,” says Pierson, a 35-year-old San Antonio resident who was born with spina bifida.

Division III — Razorbacks Hang On, Lobos Roll

It looked like the No. 1 seed Arkansas Rollin’ Razorbacks were headed to a dominant double-digit win. But the No. 4 seed LWSRA Hawks stormed back and nearly pulled off a major comeback. Arkansas hung on for a 60-59 Saturday afternoon semifinal win.

Arkansas will take on the No. 3 seed Tucson Lobos in Sunday’s Adult Division III title game.

Arkansas led 57-43 near the 6-minute mark of the fourth quarter, but LWSRA rallied nearly all the way back before falling by a point.

Tucson defeated the No. 15 seed Austin Rec’ers, 65-42, in Saturday’s second semifinal game, ending the Rec’ers’ upset run.


National Wheelchair Basketball Association National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament Championships
Division 1

No. 1 Dallas Wheelchair Mavericks 72, No. 4 Golden State Road Warriors 71

No. 2 MedStar NRH Punishers 76, No. 3 WASA Marquette Eagles 73


No. 12 Los Angeles Hotwheels 2, No. 16 New York Rollin’ Knicks 0 (Hotwheels won by forfeit)

No. 11 Memorial Herman Rehabilitation Sharks 75, No. 7 Rancho Halos 62

No. 13 Houston Rolling Rockets 51, No. 9 NMCSD Wolfpack 38

No. 15 Minnesota Courage Kenny Rolling Timberwolves 76, No. 14 WWAR Generals 55

No. 8 Utah Wheelin’ Jazz 57, No. 5 Mary Free Bed Pacers 46

No. 6 Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets 60, No. 10 Seattle Sonics 51

7th-Place Game

No. 5 Mary Free Bed Pacers 69, No. 10 Seattle Sonics 47


Division II

No. 1 Los Angeles Clippers Chairmen 76, No. 4 LWSRA Hawks 53

No. 2 San Antonio ParaSport Spurs 61, No. 3 Chicago Hornets 53


No. 11 Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets 62, No. 14 Sportable Rimriders 38

No. 15 ParaSport Spokane 57, No. 7 Lakeshore Storm 35

No. 9 Memphis Rollin’ Grizzlies 57, No. 12 Shepherd Stealers 46

No. 15 ParaSport Spokane 51, No. 11 Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets 50

No. 13 Magee Spokesmen 50, No. 16 Orlando Magic Wheels 31

No. 7 Lakeshore Storm 49, No. 14 Sportable Rimriders 33

No. 8 Ability360 Phoenix Suns 55, No. 5 Memorial Rehabilitation Sharks 42

No. 6 Denver Rolling Nuggets 64, No. 10 Kansas City Kings 46


Division III

No. 1 Arkansas Rollin’ Razorbacks 60, No. 4 LWSRA Hawks 59

No. 3 Tucson Lobos 65, No. 15 Austin Rec’ers 42


No. 11 Tampa Bay Strong Dogs 50, No. 14 Tacoma Titans 39

No. 2 Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers 62, No. 10 Columbia Heat 44

No. 11 Tampa Bay Strong Dogs 62, No. 2 Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers 45

No. 5 Coastal Chairmen 58, No. 16 VAIL Harrisonburg Cardinals 42

No. 14 Tacoma Titans 61, No. 10 Columbia Heat 32

No. 12 Virginia Sun Wheelers 55, No. 9 Brooks Ballers 46

No. 6 Charlottesville Cardinals 57, No. 7 Shepherd Stealers 50

15th-Place Game

No. 10 Columbia Heat 45, No. 16 VAIL Harrisonburg Cardinals 39

13th-Place Game

No. 14 Tacoma Titans 69, No. 5 Coastal Chairmen 36

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